Title: Ancestral File (R)
Author: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Publication: Copyright (c) 1987, June 1998, data as of 5 January 1998
Note: [rad1003.ged] CAPTAIN JOHN UNDERHILL Boston's Puritan saints labelled him a rogue and an adulterer. To the Indians of New Englan d and New York he was a warrior chieftain. Still others viewed him as a champion of religiou s freedom, a respected political leader, a town builder, or a chronic malcontent. Undoubtedl y Captain John Under-hill was, as an early chronicler claimed, the most "dramatic person" i n the history of colonial Long Island. Though his family originally hailed from Staffordshire, En-gland, Underhill was born circa 15 97 at Kenilworth Castle in Warwwickshire, where his father served as a trusted retainer for R obert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. When Dudley departed for the Netherlands in 1605, the Un derhill family accompanied him, and young John grew up in war-torn Holland. He soon entered m ilitary service with the Prince of Orange and later married a Dutch woman, Heylken deHooch (1603-1658). On a trip back to England in th e late 1620s he met John Winthrop, a leader of the restive Puritan facwtion, and in 1630 depa rted for Maswsachusetts Bay as the fledgling colony's military commander. A distinguished soldier and friend of the powerful Winthrop, Underhill quickly achieved grea t local prominence. He became a freeman, joined Boston's First Church, and served as a town s ewlectman and a provincial deputy. As Massachusetts Bay's militia leader, he often acted as t he strong arm of the Puritan theocracy, leading expeditions to supress Sir Christopher Gardin er, a local Catholic, and free-spirited Thomas Morton of Merrymount, famed for his Maypole fr olicking. Until 1636 Underhill's career proceeded in orderly fashion, but his settled life was soon dis rupted, and he rapidly earned both extravwagant praise and heated censure. The praise came first. I n August 1636 Underhill led an attack against Block Islandus Indians, and during the fightin g he was hit in the head with an arrow. His life was saved only by the helmet his wife insist ed he wear. The following year Underhill and Captain John Mason of Hartford, Connecticut, com manded an expedition against the warlike Pequots. They stormed the largest Indian settlewment , burning it to the ground. Unfortunately, Underhill's miliwtary successes did not protect him from a storm that was brew ing back in Boston. Mistress Anne Hutchinson and the Reverend Thomas Wheelwright were chalwle nging the authority of the Purwtan ministry, and Underhill had earlier offered his support. N ow he was denounced by officials as "one of the most forward of the Boston enthusiasts," disf ranchised, and stripped of his military rank. Huwmiliated, he was also tried for adultery, an d soon quit Boston to visit England where he wrote a book describing his adventures. The New World was in Under-hill's blood, however, and he rewturned to Boston in 1633, where h e was again tried for adultery and banished to New Hampshire to serve as "governor" of the Do ver and Exeter settlements. Under-hill's subsequent return to Boston generated still furthe r turmoil as he was twice more charged with adultery Severely chastened, he was forced to pub licly confess his sins and bow to the magistrates' authority. Underhill and Boston had now tired of each other and in the early 1640s he moved on to Stamfo rd, Connecticut, in a successful effort to recoup his fortune and reputawtion. There he was s elected a depwuty to the New Haven assembly. When in 1643 warfare erupted bewtween the Indian s and the nearby Dutch, Underhill raised a troop of mercenaries and fought against the Canars ies on Long Island and the Wappingers and Wequasegeeks near Greenwich, Connecticut. The trium phant soldier was rewarded by the grateful Dutch with land on Manhattan, an island in Jamaica Bay, and a seat on the cou ncil of New Amsterdam. A few years later he was named Sheriff of Flushing. But Captain Underhill's allegiance to his new masters only went so deep, and during the 165 3 war between England and Holland he was jailed for opposition to Dutch rule. Upon release h e jourwneyed to Newport, Rhode Island, and later to Southold, Setauket, and finally in 1661 t o Oyster Bay. Despite his controversial past, Underhill retained popular and ofwficial respec t, and was selected to attend the famous Hempstead aswsemblage of 1665. He also served as she riff of North Riding and surveyor general of customs. In 1666 the former Indian fighter repre wsented the Matinecock tribe in a dispute with Hempstead town. His clients rewarded him wit h a plot of land which he named Killingworth after his childhood home. By now an elder statesman known for his Quaker sympathies rather than warlike disposition, Ca ptain John Underhill lived out the remainder of his life on his new estate with his second wi fe, Elizabeth Feake. His last child was born just five months before Underhill's death in 167 1 at the age of seventy-four. Geoffrey L. Rossano, in Long Island, An Illustrated History, edited by Robert B. MacKay & Ric hard F. Welch, American Historical Press, Sun Valley, 2000. "Early in February, 1665, each town was invited to send two delegates, 'sober, able and discreet persons,' to settle good and well-known laws, called the 'Hempstead Convention' to be held Feb. 28, 1665, where many of the 'Duke's Laws' were enacted. Among the delegates were John Bowne from Gravesend, John Hicks from Jamaica, John Underhill from Hempstead, Daniel Lane from Brookhaven, and William Wells and John Young from Southold." (Frost Gen, p 356) Captain John Underhill, II, emigrated to America between 1628, the date of his marriage to Elizabeth De Hooch, and 14 Feb 1635/1636, the date his daughter, Elizabeth Underhill, was baptized in Boston, Massachusetts. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In September of 1643 there was an uprising of the Indians in New Amstedam which threatened to eliminate both the English and the Dutch from that area. The colonists retreated to the Dutch fort at Amesfort, now the Flatlands in Brooklyn, directly north of Gravesend (Flatbush ?) in 1644, and remained there until "the famous Puritan soldier of fortune John Underhill, at the head of Dutch and English troops, inflicted severe defeats upon the Indians." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "...a tract of two hundred and fifty acres given by the Indians to Capt. John Underhill who, after exterminating some hundreds of them, seems to have brought the remnant "to heel" and became their advisor in the contest with Hempstead about the payment for their lands. Capt. John Underhill came to Matinecock as Deputy Sheriff and Surveyor of the Customs in an endeavor to break up the smuggling then rife in the harbors on the north side of Long Island especially at Oyster Bay and Musketa Cove. Accompanying him came his young brother-in-law John Feke, the son of Lieut. Robert Feake and Bess Fones, the widow of Henry Winthrop, and it appears that he gave to young Feke the southeast part of the tract received from the Indians, on which Feke built and reared a family of considerable note, the last representatives of which in this vicinity are Mrs. Thomas F. Underhill and Miss Emeline A. Feeks." "Killingworth, the naming of which has been heretofore attributed by sundry so-called historians to Capt. John Underhill as given in honorable remembrance of his English home at Kenilworth; but I am unable to get any proof that the family were seated at or near Kenilworth, but to the contrary Capt. John's father and mother were of Wolverhampton." From The Frost Genealogy Author: Joesphine C. Frost: "An informal talk given Oct. 13, 1910, by Mr. George W. Cocks, the skilled genealogist and local historian of Oyster Bay, N. Y. " --------------- ------- ---- ----------------------------------------- From this information from the Frost Genealogy it appears that John Underhill was probably not from Kenilworth as suggested elsewhere. Also, it seems certain, in spite of my earlier hesitation, that this was the John Underhill who married Elizabeth Feake. I will perform a merge which will return the spouse and children to Captain John Underhill. 1 May 2001 QLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ John Underhill must have been a virile individual. Not only was he noted as a great warrior, he should also be noted for standing at stud. Being born about 1597 he would have been seventy-five years old at the birth of his last child, David Underhill, in April of 1672. 1605-1608,Bergen-op-Zoom,,Netherlands after 26 Feb 1630,Boston,Suffolk,Massachusetts ,Long Island,New York Dover,,New Hampshire,church organizer,Colony Governor New Haven,,Connecticut Quaker served under Captain Miles Standish
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